Even before they surveyed hundreds of residents on the issue, high-schoolers Mitchell van der Noll and Aiden Williams knew e-cigarettes was a growing problem among teenagers in town.
The high school seniors, who distributed the survey as interns with Town Hall this spring, said the number of students using the devices has “exploded” over the last year or two.
Students can be found smoking e-cigarettes in the high school bathrooms, in the parking lots, at parties outside of school and most recently, at the middle schools, they said. Most use the newest device, a Juul vape pen.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Williams said. “You can see anyone from any social group using them at kind of any time. If you go into the bathroom at the high school there’s probably a greater than 50 percent chance you would find someone (smoking).”
The survey, distributed on a community Facebook page, revealed that Ridgefielders are taking notice. More than 39 percent of the 240 people surveyed said e-cigarettes surpass alcohol, heroin, marijuana and cocaine as the “most relevant substance abuse problem in our community today.”
About 97 percent said they have heard of the “widespread usage amongst teenagers” and almost 91 percent that they knew about high schoolers vaping in bathrooms during school.
July 4, 2018